[WARNING: This review contains spoilers. Turn back now if you haven’t seen the movie!]
Yeah, so, a movie came out I guess. It’s a smaller art film that you’ve probably never heard of but I guess I’ll just talk about it anyway.
Like I usually do with my spoiler-filled reviews, I made sure to see Infinity War a second time to absorb all of its awesomeness. I loved the movie the first time around, but had a few issues with it. This time, most of those issues subsided, and I enjoyed the movie a hell of a lot more. The issues that I do have with it now are pretty minor, but I’ll mention them in this review.
Let’s start out with one of the more significant spoilers in the movie: Loki dies, and in a surprisingly brutal way. Thanos chokes him out as Thor watches, providing him with a great emotional motivation to go after Thanos. This death also really set the scene for the tone of the rest of the movie: people are gonna die, and it might not be pretty. The zoom-in on Loki’s purple face and bloodshot eyes was almost sickening, but necessary to show how ruthless and strong Thanos actually is. That villain from the first Avengers that was pretty difficult to defeat? Yeah, he’s dead within the first five minutes. He’s easily choked to death without being able to put up much resistance. I love the fact that the movie starts out that way.
I also love how Thanos beats the Hulk in combat, causing him to avoid “coming out” and fighting for the rest of the movie. That scene also shows how physically powerful Thanos is even without the Infinity Stones.
I do have a tiny issue with this whole sequence, though. Loki’s whole arc in Ragnarok was finally bonding with Thor in a way that he had never previously done. In this one, when Thanos threatens to kill Thor, Loki initially tells him to “kill away.” That seems a bit out of character, considering how he was in Ragnarok. It doesn’t really bother me though.
Oh, and I guess Idris Elba’s character is dead too. What was his name again?
This all eventually leads to an awesome showdown in New York featuring Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Wong, and Spider-Man (Bruce Banner sits on the sidelines too, providing a ton of great humor). Iron Man’s suit-up in this sequence is one of the coolest to date, accompanied by a chill-inducing musical theme. That’s another thing that I wanted to mention in this review: the score is actually really good in Infinity War, unlike the majority of Marvel movies, which usually have bland and generic music. There were several moments where I noticed that the music was actually enhancing what was going on in the movie, which is truly great.
Despite how awesome the suit-up is, I’m actually not a huge fan of the new nanotech suit. It seems almost too unrealistic, even for a Marvel movie. It just felt odd that a suit as powerful and tough as the Iron Man suit came out of a little container on his chest. This definitely doesn’t hurt my enjoyment of the movie, though, and it actually provides for some cool moments in Iron Man’s action sequences.
I really love the way Doctor Strange is used in the movie. Although I didn’t love his standalone movie (it was decent, but not great), I fully love his character now. His sarcastic banter with Tony Stark was perfect, and the Russo Brothers (the directors) use his unique powers for a ton of creative and fun action sequences. His one-on-one battle with Thanos was so, so awesome, and I can’t wait to see more of this character in the future.
Thanos is my new favorite villain in the MCU. His motivations are complex and have an actual logic to them. Many of the MCU villains have the cookie-cutter motivation of “I’m gonna blow up Earth cuz I want to cuz I’m an evil bad guy and I hate the good guys.” Thanos’s plan to end overpopulation actually makes sense, and although he’s doing something very wrong, you can actually empathize with what he’s trying to do. In a movie this long with this many characters, the fact that they were able to fit in the backstory and motivation for Thanos is truly commendable. I like how the final battle is on his home planet, Titan. By doing that, the writers were able to cleverly explain his backstory in a very natural way: his planet was overcrowded, and everyone thought his plan to kill off half the population was crazy. His people went extinct, making him think that his plan was right all along. This explanation provides a more personal touch to his plan.
Thanos is also capable of being kinda empathetic. When he said “I hope they remember you” in the trailer, I assumed it was a sarcastic remark, as in “I really hope they remember you after I destroy you and the rest of the Avengers, you stupid idiot.” But in reality, that line was meant as a moment where Thanos declares his respect for Stark. It was more of a “I really hope humanity remembers your efforts, but my plan is necessary and I have to go through with it.” He even strokes Stark’s hair to comfort him after he’s stabbed, which is a nice subtle moment for his character. There are other examples of this empathetic behavior throughout the movie, such as when he tilts young Gamora away so she doesn’t see her people being slaughtered. That scene showed that Thanos is not actually a monster, despite being highly misguided.
His conversations with Gamora are also the emotional meat-and-potatoes of the movie, and really enhance both of those characters. I really like the fact that Thanos actually loves Gamora despite being such a ruthless character; it makes the story and the character much more complex. His sacrifice of Gamora was truly shocking upon my first viewing, though I now suspect that they will bring her back in some way.
Gamora’s death scene was really haunting and beautifully executed. The Russo Brothers, who I think may be the best MCU directors, did a great job with this movie. The movie in general looks really gorgeous and colorful, and the shot of Gamora falling interspliced with Thanos crying was so well-edited and well-shot.
That scene also provides another shocker: Red Skull is back! Red Skull was never one of my favorite MCU villains, but I thought having him in that scene was a great surprise. Everyone in my theater gasped when he showed up, and it was awesome to experience. Ever since Captain America: The First Avenger, it seems like everyone’s been speculating about whether Red Skull survived that movie, so I’m glad Infinity War addressed that.
The Guardians of the Galaxy may have been my favorite part of the movie. Their comedic scenes had my audience roaring with laughter, making this one of the funniest MCU movies to date. Drax screaming “WHY IS GAMORA!?” is probably my favorite, but there are loads of other hilarious scenes. I particularly love when Thor meets the Guardians and Quill self-conciously mocks him. Thor’s chemistry with Rocket was also excellent, and I really love the fact that the writers decided to pair those two characters.
One of my favorite scenes in the entire movie is when Star-Lord has to grapple with whether or not to kill Gamora. It was a really tense and poignant scene that had me on the same on my seat, and I love that the characters in this movie have such difficult choices to make. One of the major themes of the movie is sacrificing others for the greater good, which both Star-Lord and Scarlet Witch have to deal with. Even Thanos has to deal with this when he has to decide whether to sacrifice Gamora or not.
Recent Marvel movies, especially the Guardians movies and Thor: Ragnarok, have embraced the weirdness that this universe can provide. Thor absorbing the energy of a sun while a giant Peter Dinklage helps forge a magical axe with molten metal? That’s pretty weird as well, and is a great expansion of the bizarre space stuff that we started to get in Phase 3. Oh, and Thor showing up in Wakanda with Rocket and Groot is one of the most chill-inducing and exciting moments I’ve ever seen in a comic book movie. My audience was cheering like crazy.
Let’s talk a bit about Cap’s storyline, featuring Vision, Scarlett Witch, Black Panther, and more. To be honest, this was probably my least favorite storyline in the movie, but I still really enjoyed it. The final battle in Wakanda had some great moments, especially when, to Thanos’s surpise, Cap resists his push. I do kinda wish that Cap got more to do, though. I feel like he deserved some actual character development, but we’ll probably get that in the next Avengers movie.
I also really liked the way Vision goes out; in an extremely emotional scene, Scarlett Witch sacrifices Vision to destroy the Mind Stone. During my first viewing, I thought that the Avengers had won. However, Thanos devastatingly reverses time and forcefully rips the stone out of Vision’s head, killing him and creating a really shocking moment.
The best part of the movie is definitely the sequence on Titan, which is so exciting and tense. Seeing Iron Man, Doctor Strange, and Spider-Man meet and fight alongside the Guardians was so great, and I loved the banter between those characters. I also love when the Guardians trap Thanos and hold him in an attempt to take off his glove. A lot of people have said that Star-Lord is to blame for all of the deaths at the end of the movie, but I don’t really agree. First of all, Doctor Strange implied that the only outcome that would result in them winning was if they gave Thanos the Time Stone. Therefore, even if they had gotten his gauntlet off, Thanos would have gotten it back and still won. Second, their plan wasn’t to kill Thanos or destroy the stones; it was just to pull his gauntlet off. That doesn’t seem like it would result in them winning the entire war; he could have easily just gotten it back. What would they have even done with the gauntlet if they got it off? They couldn’t destroy it, so I doubt that they would have succeeded even if their plan did work. Plus, Star-Lord had just learned that the love of his life had just died. I don’t think his reaction was unreasonable at all. I do kind of understand where everyone is coming from on this, but I don’t think it ruins Star-Lord’s character or anything. Sure, it was an impulsive and unwise choice, but it was also the result of a traumatic moment for him.
Anyway, the portion on Titan features some of the best action in the MCU and is one of the most entertaining sequences that I’ve ever seen. Seeing Star-Lord run on Doctor Strange’s magical platforms was awesome, as is the moment when Spider-man catches all of the falling Guardians. Also, THANOS THROWS A FRICKING MOON. That was one of the coolest moments in the movie, and effectively shows how powerful Thanos has become. I could hear excited giggling all around me during that moment in the movie.
I also love the sequence in which Iron Man makes his final stand against Thanos. The combat is brutal, with Thanos slowly destroying Stark’s suit. I love when Iron Man finally punches Thanos square in the face, causing just a tiny cut. “All that for a drop of blood” is one of my favorite lines in the movie.
All in all, Infinity War is a helluva good time and one of the best superhero movies every made. Its stakes feel real, its emotional moments are effective, and because Thanos wins, its ending feels very unique, even though it’s pretty obvious that most of the dead characters will come back (that Spider-Man death scene though ;-;). I really can’t wait to see what they do with the next movie and am looking forward to seeing these characters back on screen again.
Updated Grade: A
Stay tuned for my review of Thor Ragnarok, coming soon.
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